Meta Tags for Driving Traffic – A Guide for Your Business
When you think of how to drive traffic to your website, what goes through your mind? Great content? Check. Using the right keywords? Check. Building internal and external links? Check. But have you ever considered the importance of meta tags for driving traffic?
If you have experience with SEO, you probably have.
But it is likely that meta tags are an afterthought for most people.
And they shouldn’t be.
Taking care of all elements of SEO from the get go is hard – we get that. After all, there’re so many! But the damage you’d do your business by ignoring the importance of meta tags just isn’t worth it.
So take charge! Don’t know how? We’ll show you.
How do meta tags increase traffic to your website?
Different kinds of meta tags help you drive traffic to your site in different ways.
They tell the search engine AND the user what your page is about.
In that way, they help your page rank, first of all.
Then, once the page appears in the SERPS, they encourage the user to click on the link and be taken through to your site.
Let’s look at how to drive traffic to your website in the context of the different meta tags.
4 Main Types of Meta Tags for Driving Traffic to Your Site
The title tag is perhaps the most important meta tag of all.
Title tags are also tags that are visible to the user even if they don’t look at the source code of the page.
So what exactly is a title tag?
Is it the title you see at the top of the page when you look at a blog post, for example? Well, no, not quite.
The title you see there is the H1 tag. It is easily confused with the title tag because they are often the same, and similar in all other cases.
Which brings us back to our question: where is the title tag displayed?
Well, it is displayed in three places for the audience to see:
1. The text on the webpage tab
2. The title of the page on the SERPs
3. The title of the post when it is shared on social media
As you can see from this image, the title tag is what stands out in a social media share preview. It is this bit of text that determines whether or not a user clicks on the post.
So what are the things you have to keep in mind when you are writing a title tag?
Well, before we get into how you can craft the perfect title tag, here are a few things to remember:
- The title is what will get people to click on the page – draft it with the user in mind before anything else.
- Because the title tag also tells search engines what the page is about, it needs to be optimized for search engine crawlers also.
In other words, you can’t ignore Google’s bots and you certainly cannot disregard the people who will be reading the title tag.
So what are the best practices when it comes to writing the title tag?
Read on to find out!
Google only displays titles in the SERPs up to a certain length. While this is determined by pixels, you can be fairly confident that a title tag that falls somewhere between 50-60 characters will be displayed fully.
This gives the reader a complete picture of what they can expect to find in the blog post.
On the contrary, if you surpass the limit of the title tag display, you will see something on the SERPs that looks a little like this:
While the title tag is cut off isn’t great in most cases, it can help if you are trying to intrigue the reader by giving them most of the information but holding a snippet back.
They will then click on the link to satiate their craving for that information. For this to work, however, you need to have full confidence that the readers will be interested enough in more information.
In general, it is better to stick to shorter tags.
Having said all that, don’t make the title tag so short that it is vague. Today’s consumer does not have time to waste – they want to know what they’re going to find when they click a title or a link.
Because search engines use the title tag to determine the kind of content the page has, it is a smart idea to use relevant keywords in your title tags.
If you have a lot of keywords that are relevant, it is best to include the one people are searching for most and, hence, the one you’re ranking for.
Again, it is crucial that you do not overstuff the title tag with keywords. This will make it long, boring, and visually displeasing.
In addition to the main keyword, you can benefit from adding a long-tail variant too as this will help you rank easier than the main one (which is more popular).
At the end of the day though, the main goal of the title tag is to attract readers to click on the site so focus more on making it interesting than stuffing it with keywords.
Quick note: Including synonyms of your keyword in the title tag is a good idea, if you can.
We’ve been saying it throughout and we’ll say it again: you’re writing primarily for your audience. So do not compromise on the readability and the creativity of the title tag.
You want them to click on the title if they are to come to your site.
Here are some things you can do to ensure you ace the tags as far as the copy is concerned:
- Use language that will intrigue the readers and leave them wanting to know more. This could be in the form of questions, smartly-used descriptive language, and more.
- Use numbers to quantify the information and tell the reader exactly what they can expect. People are also more inclined toward reading list-based posts so make sure you help the reader identify them using a number in the title tag.
- According to Moz, dates can be great additions to title tags.
- Don’t use all capitals – it makes it look like you’re screaming information at the reader and can be intimidating. Use either sentence case or capitalize each (or most) word.
- Use a CTA, or a call-to-action, in your title tag where possible. We understand that this isn’t possible for pages like blog posts but words like “buy,” “sell,” “learn,” and others encourage the reader to do those very things for e-commerce webpages and others.
- Include an element of time in your title tag – telling a reader they can “learn to do so and so in 10 minutes” can encourage them to click. Using words like “buy now” or “’learn more today” can introduce a sense of urgency that works in your favor.
- Use your brand name in the tag because people want to click on an offer from their favorite brand or a blog post from their favorite influencer, for example. Tell them at first glance that it is your company’s webpage.
This is the title tag we wrote for our homepage. It:
- Is short.
- Gets to the point.
- Contains our company’s name.
- Contains our main keyword.
- Tells people what we do.
- Informs people of our location.
The meta description tag is the description you see in the SERPs under the title tag of a page.
It is a very important element of meta tags for driving traffic. Why? Because it gives a reader more of a detailed description of what they are likely to find when they click on the link.
The more enticing the description, the greater the amount of traffic your site will attract.
Meta descriptions are all the more important now because of a shift towards shorter title tags. Information that hasn’t been covered in the title tag can be covered in the meta description.
So, how to drive traffic to your website with meta descriptions? Here is how:
Your meta description should ideally be somewhere between 155 to 160 characters.
Some guides say that it can be up to 300 characters but if it is more than 160 characters, it will likely get cut off in the SERPs.
Meta descriptions do not have a direct impact in ranking your page. Which may make you think you don’t need to add any keywords to them.
But that is not the smart thing to do.
We’ll share why with an example.
When you type “adidas slogan” into the Google search bar, our blog post on the topic comes up.
As you can see, the keyword we searched for is highlighted in the meta description of the page.
This instantly tells the reader that the content of the page is definitely relevant to their search.
And that will make them more likely to click.
Creating the perfect meta description is an art.
It should be short but informative. It should invite action but not be pushy. The list can go on.
Here are a few tips you need to remember while drafting meta descriptions:
- Use direct language that gets the point across immediately – don’t waste characters being vague.
- Get as much information across as you can. If you offer 10 services, try to mention at least the top four or five.
- Make sure your meta description is convincing and assures the reader that they will find the answers they are looking for. For this, it is essential to know what the search intent is.
- Adding to the last point, make sure it is relevant to the actual page – misleading the reader won’t do you any favors in the long term.
- Include a CTA in the description, especially if you didn’t include one in the title tag (as will be the case with blog posts, for example). You want the reader to take action.
Here is the example of the CANZ homepage meta description. It:
- Tells people what we do.
- Contains our main keyword.
- Mentions some of our top services.
- Attracts people with the word “free.”
- Encourages people to take action by getting a consultation (for free)!
Read Yoast’s detailed guide on writing meta descriptions here.
Robots Meta Tag
A Robots meta tag guides the search engine on how to crawl and index a webpage.
Unlike the title tag and the meta description, the robots tag isn’t directly visible to the average user.
Here are the different values or parameters along with the different instructions they give to the search engine crawlers:
- Index: Index the page (default)
- Noindex: Do not index a page
- Follow: Follow links and pass along link equity
- Nofollow: Do not follow links and pass along link equity
- Nocache – Do not cache the page
- Noarchive – Do not cache the page (Internet Explorer and Firefox)
- Noimageindex – Do not index images on the page
- None – The combined functionality of Noindex and Nofollow tags
- Nosnippet – Do not show the meta description of the page on the SERP
- Unavailable_after – Do not index the page after the mentioned date
Keywords Meta Tag (obsolete meta tag)
Have you ever come across a super juicy headline about a trending topic (or not) and clicked on it just because you were intrigued?
We know we have.
But has it ever happened that the content of the news story doesn’t quite reflect the headline?
We’ve come across this tonnes of times – and not just with regard to articles and blog posts. So many time, a YouTube video lures you in with a title and the content doesn’t even remotely correspond to it.
This is a bit like the keywords meta tag.
In the past, the keywords meta tag had a lot of importance – it told search engines what the page was about. So if you were wondering how to increase traffic to your website, you’d add relevant keywords to the keywords meta tag.
But much like the misleading blog title and YouTube video name, people started adding trending keywords to the tag that were completely irrelevant to the page.
Why did they do this?
They wanted to attract traffic to their site that wasn’t rightfully theirs.
Needless to say, the Google algorithm doesn’t use the Keywords meta tag to rank pages anymore.
Bottom Line: Use Meta Tags for Driving Traffic, not Putting a Halt to It
The smart use of the meta tags we have discussed in this blog post ensures that you steadily increase traffic to your site.
It is a small effort that goes a long way and we would suggest you don’t take it lightly.
What seems like a very small element of SEO for your site can act as a red traffic light if ignored or not done right.